I am quite interested in becoming a Newspaper Columnist because they are allowed to share their opinion on a specific topic or a general idea. They have the liberty to say what is on their mind and they are allowed to express their thoughts on relevant matters. Writing is my passion and it seems like the perfect job for me to become a Newspaper Columnist. Also, they have a lot of time on their hands, and unlike other Journalists, Newspaper Columnists usually do not have to go on the field. They also have a huge following, especially when they are experts on certain topics, because they get their articles published weekly, if not daily.
I stumbled upon a blog of a Newspaper Columnist from the Philippines. His name is Zhaun Ortega, a graduate from another private Jesuit, Roman Catholic School; and he writes for Edge Davao Business Weekly. It is a Business-themed paper, but he writes a column about the local party scene and different youth trends.
Interviewee: Zhaun Claude R. Ortega, Newspaper Columnist, Edge Davao Business Paper
1. What are the qualifications for your position (education / previous experience)?
To become a Newspaper Columnist, you must have to be an expert on something. I write about the local party scene and give tips on how to throw a party. I have been partying since my High School days (because that is legal in the Philippines), so even if I am still 22, people consider me an expert on the topic. However, most papers would require you to have a College Degree, or to be in College, depending on what type of column you are writing.
2. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy all the perks that come with it. I can party for free, I have free dinners, and I get to know a lot of important people during events. And because I get to know a lot of people, I get more job opportunities, like hosting gigs. Recently a radio station approached me to become a host for an on-air show which revolved around partying; my show has been on for over a month and it has increased my value as a writer and as part of the Communications industry. More importantly, I get to share my ideas to the whole community.
3. What is the greatest challenge related to your job?
It is quite challenging to have to write about the same topic every week of your life. Sometimes, you run out of ideas. And the only way for you to gather more ideas is to go to where the action is at. So if you are a fashion columnist, go to fashion shows. If you are a music columnist, go to concerts and launch parties.
4. What advice do you give to someone interested in becoming a Newspaper Columnist?
I always say: write about what you know. Do not pretend to know about something. Your greatest resource is your mind. Do not try to write something that will require you to start from scratch.
5. What is the one thing you wish someone would have told you BEFORE you pursued and accepted your current position?
I wish someone had told me that being a Newspaper Columnist would mean losing
your anonymity, and that you have to learn how to deal with that. Also, I wish somebody told me that I have to be careful with what I write, unless I want to ruffle some feathers.